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1 in 7 women made redundant after maternity leave. Plus, new guest blog from Maternity Action

(166 Posts)
HelenMumsnet (MNHQ) Sun 10-Mar-13 22:06:41


Some of you may have seen this report in The Guardian of survey findings suggesting that one in seven women is made redundant after taking maternity leave.

The findings also suggest that 40% of the 1000 women polled found that, when they returned from maternity leave, their jobs had changed - with half reporting a cut in hours or demotion.

Does this surprise you? Or not? Maybe it's happened to you? Do share your thoughts...

*Update from MNHQ: We've now got a guest blog from Maternity Action over on the Bloggers Network. Do have a look, and let us know what you think about that, too.

BoysWillGrow Mon 11-Mar-13 21:32:44

me too :-(

PennieLane Mon 11-Mar-13 21:38:10

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

KristinaM Mon 11-Mar-13 21:43:04

I wasn't made redundant. But I was transferred to another office about 1.5 hours away. Which made the job impossible to fit into nursery hours. Apparently all the vacant jobs in the nearby locations were filled by other staff who were relocated from my office. I didn't have the chance to apply for these as , guess what, I was on maternity leave.

So I had to resign. NHS employer .

ItsallisnowaFeegle Mon 11-Mar-13 21:47:50

I'm due to return to work in July. I'm fully expecting to be made redundant on 31st March.hmm

Hassled Mon 11-Mar-13 21:49:00

My job mysteriously became redundant after DC3. They did what they had to - they offered me another job at the same pay. But it was a job I could have done when I was 17 - it was really junior, junior shit. The sort of soul-destroying job I'd spent years getting away from. They absolutely knew I wouldn't take it - they were wankers.

Iwillorderthefood Mon 11-Mar-13 22:05:54

Yes it happened to me, after first mat leave I went part time, and in the following three and a bit years, had very few opportunities to progress despite actively putting myself forward. All the while those that were less senior than me were starting to become more senior.

I fought hard for the one opportunity I got, and was told in front of about ten people that they did got know if I could cope due to my outside responsibilities. This solidly confirmed what had been happening all the while I had been working part time.

Following second mat leave, after not doing any real work for the whole time I was back was made redundant. I was back for five months.

Oh and they sent an email saying part time work no longer fit their business model.

NappyHappy Mon 11-Mar-13 22:28:03

I got made redundant on ML to in 2008. Offered me a job the other side of Manchester knowing full well I couldn't get there.

Piemother Mon 11-Mar-13 22:51:19

Currently on mat leave and panicking about bring made redundant as department being restructured post munro report. Any experience/advice welcome hmm

madamimadam Mon 11-Mar-13 22:57:48

It happened to me. Just after I'd spent a fortune on breast pumps etc, which I thought I'd need for my return to work...

Left me absolutely pole axed. I was quite excited about going back to work, in all honesty. I felt I could conquer the world at that stage. And then they tried to stiff me on my redundancy pay, which just added insult to injury.

Thank God for my union. They really supported me. (Oh, and I have 2 employment lawyer friends in the City who were also made redundant on ML. Both said there was no point in challenging it - they felt they wouldn't work again if they did sad And if employment lawyers feel like that...)

NapaCab Tue 12-Mar-13 06:37:19

This doesn't surprise me in the least. Having the audacity to become a mother seems to be the death-knell for many women's careers even now.

For me, I had barely announced my pregnancy at 14 weeks when I was suddenly targeted for a mysterious redundancy consultation process that only affected me, no-one else in my team or in my company. Apparently my job was 'unique' even though I had changed jobs within teams prior to that and others shared my job title!

I had one unannounced, unwitnessed meeting with the director of my company, who claimed not to know I was pregnant, and who told me not to come back to the office other than for a second consultation meeting. I immediately called ACAS and then an employment law solicitor as I knew if I came back in for the second meeting the director had set up, I could be fired on the spot and wouldn't be entitled to any maternity pay. So I fought my corner with my solicitor's help and got a settlement that was alright.

UK employment law is a joke. In the US, where I live now, with a case as blatant as mine, I could have sued for loss of earnings, loss of future earnings, damage to career, stress, harassment, intimidation etc but under UK law only loss of earnings / future earnings can be compensated for in the tribunal system. The harassment and awful stress they put me through for a whole trimester of my pregnancy was just tough luck for me. There is a lot of talk about employee rights but you find out pretty quick when it happens to you that the system is nicely set up to circumscribe your rights within very narrow parameters. It's sad, when you think that this happened under a Labour government (and continues with the Tories/Lib Dems). Ramsay MacDonald would be spinning in his grave.

birdofthenorth Tue 12-Mar-13 08:02:30

I wasn't made redundant but my title and role changed whilst on mat leave and the woman who was doing maternity cover was promoted above me without me being given the opportunity to apply for the vacancy. This was in a charity championing women's rights at work!!

Hattifattner Tue 12-Mar-13 08:15:14

I wasn't made redundant, but I was shunted sideways after DC2 into a dead end role, followed by an equally dead end job that had no prospects and with the sword of Damocles hanging over the entire departments' heads. This after building my section up from nothing into a £5 million turnover group that provided multi-million sales leads to the rest of the business.

After I came back, and as this shunt happened, I made it very clear that I felt they were acting illegally and that my salary and bonus package had to be maintained. They were not happy that I had taken legal advise on my rights, and they made it very clear.

My new department had already seen an 80% redundancy programme and was left with a skeleton crew. In a recession. When similar service providers were going to the wall every week.

WHen I fell pg with No 3, I already knew in my heart that I would return to a couple of years of dreadful dullness and no prospects before inevitably being made redundant - and so I took the decision that no redundancy payout (our company only ever paid statutory minimum) would be worth it a couple of years of misery.

CityGal29 Tue 12-Mar-13 08:57:32

Yes happened to me mid 2012 at a bank. Told me was fine to do 4.5 dyas per week. went back and redundnacies. Paid me off 6m pay and had to sign compromise agreement.

Hard job hunting when want part time, not surprised so many women 'drop out' after having children..if I hadn't have had relatives to have my 2 kids while registering at agencies and having short-notice interviews, I couldn't afford the nursery/ didn't want to spend the 6m pay when didn't know if could lead to anythig job wise in a rescession & nurseries are so inflexiuble, sign a contract for a year ahead etc when sign up so couldnt do this with no job!

Makes me really angry.

ArethaSnellHutt Tue 12-Mar-13 09:17:51

I think I will be made redundant after ML next year. Currently under TUPE situation, then new employer will restructure in 6-12 months. My role had been advertised for maternity cover but not filled so essentially my work will be "absorbed" by colleagues in my absence leaving me nothing to go back to.

I don't see this as a bad thing though as I don't really want to go back after ML and stand to get approx 28 wks full pay if made redundant. Also my boss (a mum of 4) has a very negative attitude to anyone requesting flexible working or needing time off if child is sick. She is also an appalling manager with zero people skills and a nightmare to work for because she undermines you and provides zero support to the managers below her (I'm her deputy). So after 8 years of crap I would gladly take a payout.

I do realise that this is not everyones view or indeed perhaps the point of the OP but it would not be a negative for me.

TheMouseDancing Tue 12-Mar-13 10:32:18

I'm not shocked, this is happening to me now.

Can say too much but I am basically being forced into taking voluntary redundancy and I work for a local authority!

reawakeningambition Tue 12-Mar-13 11:03:37

"Can't say too much" is a big part of the problem. Women are generally forced to enter into compromise agreements as soon as there is a hint of complaint, and these contain gagging orders.

TheDoctrineOfSnatch Tue 12-Mar-13 11:44:10

To give an anecdote from the other side, I was in the early stages of pregnancy when a redundancy process was started at my last job. I told my boss and they still went through a proper process and I kept my job.

Sorry so many people have suffered angry

CrackersandCheese Tue 12-Mar-13 12:29:42

Happened to me as well

loadofwaffle Tue 12-Mar-13 14:33:52

I took ML and towards the end found out my mother was dying, yes actually really dying. I had a heart to heart with my boss who let me extend my leave with some 'unpaid leave of absence'... ie no protection whatsoever. The same week as the funeral he made me redundant. Wanker. Now realise I should have gone through proper channels and been on 'carers leave' and probs wouldn't have been touched as the company is generally legally nervous... oh, and obviously the person doing my job while I was on leave is still there! Grrrr

JaneGMumsnet (MNHQ) Tue 12-Mar-13 16:41:19


Just wanted to draw your attention to this media request from the Sunday Mirror - they are looking for women to talk about this very subject.

Do get in touch if you'd like to share your story.



badguider Tue 12-Mar-13 17:42:31

My experience is in the public sector (though now i am self-employed after redundancy) and I would say that women in my old organisation were absolutely NOT discriminated against and opportunities for job-share and pt working were sensible and flexible.

HOWEVER the entire organisation is being decimated with around 25% of all staff redundant of a workforce which was already disproportionately female and probably around half of those females had children.

badguider Tue 12-Mar-13 17:45:10

And to be clear, this public sector organisation is not a bunch of pen pushers, it's not life or death but it's something that contributes to the quality of life of people all over the uK and a service i bet most families use.

KatieMiddleton Tue 12-Mar-13 17:45:55

Erm no thanks. Since when do MNHQ tout for journos on threads? hmm

You see most people cannot comment because of the mutual confidentiality clauses contained in compromise agreements and the rest, without evidence, could be potentially libellous when published. Or you take out all the specifics and then there's no story. < That is why it goes on unnoticed and not brought to account.

BimbaBirba Tue 12-Mar-13 17:46:01

One of those too.
One month who're coming back from maternity leave, my boss said that she could only "offer" me half I my pre maternity hours. I put my foot down and threatened to sue them so she backed down and allowed me to come back on my pre-maternity hours. However, I envisaged that as soon as she felt that she cold get away with it, she would make me redundant or cut my hours as planned so I looked (an found) another job while still on maternity leave.

TheDoctrineOfSnatch Tue 12-Mar-13 18:08:05

Oh waffle that's awful.

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